Blog 43: Notes On Book Marketing.

The idea of marketing your book can be overwhelming, especially if you’re an indie author and you’re just starting out. Below are some of the thoughts and suggestions from a marketing friend of mine who has been looking at the most effective promotional tools for authors. From branding, to online and offline marketing, here is everything you need to know to get started…

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Blog 40: Why You Should Invest In An Editor.

“The funny thing about writing is that whether you’re doing it well or you’re doing it poorly, it looks the exact same. That is actually one of the main ways that writing is different from ballet dancing.” – John Green

If you’re an indie author and either have, or are considering self-publishing, then let me borrow a few minutes of your time to tell you why I think investing in a good editor is important.

I’ve read many books over the years and I’m by no means an expert in the field of writing, but I have noticed reoccurring patterns and feelings. Particularly feelings of disappointment and confusion when a book I’ve been reading has fallen flat or the characters have just acted bizarrely for no apparent reason, and yes I have fallen into this trap too.

As a writer and author, I know how difficult it is to come up with compelling, yet realistic ideas that make sense for your story. When I was writing my first published book Anomaly, which I rewrote dozens of times with the help of a couple of editors, I found that in later rewrites my mind had become so saturated with my story that I could no longer decide whether my writing and ideas were good, or if they were just plain terrible. I experienced feelings of panic and anxiety for weeks and months, even after I finished the book and it went off for publication. In fact, the earliest versions of Anomaly bear very little resemblance to what I eventually wrote and published in 2016. read more »

Blog 22: Reactions Make Stories Believable!

Emotions

Have you ever read a book where a character does or says something that seems to be completely bizarre? I don’t mean a plot-twist, I mean when a character literally does not follow ‘normal human behaviour’ causing the story to lose its believability and you, as the reader, end up questioning what planet the author was living on when they wrote their book? Unfortunately this seems to happen from time to time and it can cause readers to lose interest in, or give up on, a book entirely.

As much as every person is unique and reacts differently to different situations, and of course you will always have the anomalies (or rather the few that don’t behave like the majority), sometimes characters react in ways that you just cannot fathom, and when this happens your brain will point out everything that it views as flaws. Sometimes this is down to the individual reader but often it is the author’s fault, whether it be poor writing, or poor structural editing, or a seemingly lack of understanding in basic human reactions. Sometimes authors write sentences, paragraphs and even chapters that your brain just cannot get on board with. Before I go further, it is important to point out here that not everyone will enjoy or understand a particular book, everyone has different tastes, and even the famous authors receive bad reviews. read more »

Blog 15: Approaching a Bookshop with your Book.

books

Now I am not an expert here at all, and as a new author I’ve only had one encounter with a bookshop so far, to say it went badly would be an understatement. However, I learnt some valuable lessons from that one encounter and I’m going to share those lessons with all of you aspiring authors.

As a new author you will want to contact local and independent bookshops. WH Smiths and Waterstones may be less likely to take you, as a new author, seriously but that’s not to say they won’t stock your book at all. Many Waterstones have a local author’s section but as I’m sure you have noticed, the giants tend to stock the famous authors and celebrity cookbooks. Local and independent bookshops will also stock these books but they are more likely to stock your book too. read more »

Blog 12: Opening and Closing Lines.

Whatever you’re writing, whether it be a novel, an article, or even a letter, the opening and closing lines are crucial.

As an author, I would say that both your opening line and closing line are equally important. Why? Because the opening line will be the first thing your reader will read, and they will subconsciously judge the rest of your written piece based on that one sentence, and by that logic, the closing line will be the last thing that your reader will read, and the one line they are most likely to remember when discussing your book with friends and family.

Don’t believe me? Well I can tell you that I experienced the former just last week. read more »

Blog 9: Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make! – Part 1.

Unless you’ve taken a creative writing course or an English degree, you will probably make a few mistakes with your writing, and you won’t necessarily realise these until someone points them out to you.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been there and done it (hides in shame over my early writing days).

Nowadays I read a lot of books. I read a mixture of popular and lesser known books, and of course I sometimes pick up those considered classics. However, even if a book is popular, that doesn’t mean the writing is by any means perfect, but this largely comes down to the reader’s opinion. An editor and other writers are likely to be more picky, your readers less so.

Over the years I’ve noticed common mistakes that crop up time and time again. I don’t mean the odd typo, these happen in every book, even in the popular ones. I mean the sort of mistakes that can slow down the pace of a story, confuse the reader, or even lose the reader’s interest entirely. I don’t want to go into grammar or spellings just yet, though there are plenty of blogs out there for you to check out if you’re not sure about those two aspects of your writing. For now, I’m going to focus on two mistakes that I used to make when I first started writing. read more »

Blog 8: 24 Interview Questions for Authors/Writers (and how to answer them).

Interviews may seem like a distant dream or only for those who make it big time in the literary world, but that is not the case. In fact with social media becoming increasingly important, interviews are not quite as distant as you may think. I’m not saying that big newspapers, radio stations or famous bloggers are going to suddenly send you requests for interviews, but you may get some requests from smaller, local newspapers and lesser known bloggers. There are many book and writing related blogs, vlogs and podcasts out there who are searching for their next interviewee.

So if you are sent an interview request, whether that be responding with verbal or written answers, you will probably want to be prepared in advance. I have put together a list of possible questions for you based on my interview experiences, however please note that this list is a general guide not a definite one, your questions will be tailored towards you and your work. read more »

Blog 6: Write Anything and Everything.

You don’t have to write thousands of words every day in order to be a writer. In fact, this is likely to only happen when you are in your ‘creative zone’, and I mean the zone where you’re totally tuned out from the world and your imagination is solely focused on the piece of work at hand. In the ‘creative zone’ you’re happy and excited by your work and very little can distract you. This is great when it happens but for a lot of writers, myself included, it can be very difficult to reach this zone in the first place, let alone maintain it for hours.

So, how do writers write? read more »

Blog 5: Acrostics – A Fun Way to Create Characters!

‘What is an acrostic?’ I hear you ask. An acrostic is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. For example Acrostic could be written as;

A

Carefully

Reasoned

Ordered

Sentence

Tells

It

Clearly

Simple right? So what does this have to do with creating characters? Well if you take a person’s name, you can write an acrostic from the letters of their name, listing possible personality traits and descriptions. Not only does this make you think about your characters emotions, reactions and personalities, but it can also help you come up with some interesting, unique and conflicting traits.
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